Predictably, Belgian climber Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) lost some ground on the best time triallists in the Critérium du Dauphiné's race against the clock in Grenoble on Wednesday. Still, he was satisfied with his performance and now looks forward to putting his fitness to the test in the high mountain passes in view of the Tour de France.
"No, I'm not disappointed", Van Den Broeck told Belgian news agency Belga after the race. "I finished 17th, and I'm now in seventh place on GC, 2:28 down on overall leader Bradley Wiggins."
In fact, VDB lost exactly that amount of time, 2:28 minutes, on the British time trial specialist during the 42.5km test. "Last year, I would still have lost three minutes in this discipline," the climber explained to Sportwereld. "So I've actually improved myself a bit. It was a very difficult time trial and another problem was that the road was slippery and dangerous in the descent, so I didn't want to take any risks. And after a hesitant start I finished it off rather well and that gives me confidence for the Tour."
The winner of the Dauphiné's stage one still retained his polka dot jersey of best climber, which he intends to defend in the coming days. "I'm looking forward to the real passes now!" added Van Den Broucke, preparing to take on his rivals in both the Dauphiné and in the Tour one month from now. And he knows that the yesterday's time trial in Grenoble will differ very much from the final race against the clock in the Tour held on that same parcours on Saturday, July 23.
"I can't compare this test to what will happen here in over one month and a half. Then, only your state of freshness will count. What I retain from Grenoble is that I'm on a good track. It's encouraging in view of the Tour."